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Ciao Principessa

In the dry seasonthe porcupines head to higher ground. Or so my cousin tells me.“There’s an expression round here,” he says,“Whereby if you see someone walking alonein the dead of night, you tell them'Come un porcospino.’”My cousin tells me lots of things.We are in...

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In the Leper Colony (Notes from a Covid Ship)

i. It’s here.  Two days ago it carried away one of the crew.  Now he claws the walls of a quarantine hotel room in The Canadian Soo. ii. Daily we are vetted.Our sinuses scoured.Is it manifest within us?Who’ll be next?It’s hard not to...

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The Loneliness of the Long-Haul Flier

Never one for goodbyeshe slips away before dawns first light. His getaway, a taxicabon black roads varnished with dew. A thief in the night,  his belongings in the boot and a head full of jewels and sadness.

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Demons (Caravaggio in Malta)

I have demons. They’re like the angry mob in old Westerns. The ones that clamour outside the sheriff’s office.  Their goats gottenby loose tonguesat the saloonand too muchcheap whiskey. I’ve just woken from a sleepthat would be a good dry run...

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The Downtown Skateboarder’s Lament (The Wolves of Chernobyl)

All his life he’s wished for streets like these,clear of crowds and vehicles, the downtown of his teenage dreams.Right angles, steps and rails, endless grindable seams. With patchwork pavements that make his wheels sing in different keys.On sidewalk slabs troubled by...

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I Have Leapt

from bridgesand the brinkof cliffs. Off of rocksand ship decks,  piers and lidos,into oceans,frigid lakes and opalescent seas, over puddlesprivet hedges,brooks and felled trees. I have leapt down throatsand subway stairs,over...

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The Clamberer

I’m a climber,I’m a clamberer.A jumperand a scrambler.I’m never late.I take the stairs two at a time. I’m a runnerI’m a skater.A brisk-walkera love or hater.I scissor-kick over fences.I climb ropes hand over hand.  I’m a scaler,a high-tail-er,a mother...

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First Smoke

It might have been with Alistair and Billy.Behind the bushes on the hill at school.But I think it was with you, Chris. At the house on Whitney Avenue,with a menthol cigarette Melissa Hynes gave us.We smoked it in the garage with the chopped wood and the...

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Portrait of the Sailor as an Aging Man

Home on leave,for the fourth such time this year,and the sailor says to a friend that he sees the city,his life in fact,in time-lapse. He has arrivedto the fragrant swellof a leonine Indian Summer,and it is the seasons of course, that are the most obvious darlings of...

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Cottage Weather

for Stella, the enthusiastic collie It isn’t the morning sun’s daubings on the lake or the way it’s light glints powerful off a passing aluminum skiff and the ripple of its distant wake. It is not the rain’s soft percussionon the back of a billion...

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The Butcher’s Son

There’s more thanone way to skin a cat, and he should know. He is the Butcher’s son.He grew up with the scent of rendered flesh housedpermanently inhis olfactory nerve.Slept to the soundof the cleaver strikingthe chopping block,downstairs on the charnel floor.Now he...

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He Promises Not One More Poem About Birds

Toledo, Ohio He promises not one more poem about birds.No more over-wrought high sentence or hyper-bolic phrase describing their aspect or their flight. No anthropomorphisms or verbs like swoop, soar, wheel, dive, glide, or hover....

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Postcard of a Winter Kill

The winter riv-er is a white page and Coyote has made a kill out on the ice. See the violent slash of red that inks the young doe‘s final progress. Watch Coyote’s haunches strain and flex and fur-row as he tears viscera from it’s skeletal housing, looking from here...

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In My Dream

the first chordsof the Grateful Dead’s Bertha blared.Over and over,like propaganda from loudspeakers in a communisttown square.

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The Downtown Skateboarder’s Prayer

Who knows the miles this deck has seen?The length and breadth of the downtown core,its sidewalks and streets, cambers and crevicesare as but water beneath a small ship’s bow.Atop its begripped back I’ve sounded outthe surfaces of this cities’ roads,like they were some...

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Fingernail Moon (Pain and Glory)

Toronto-Shore Leave I.A week ago, I drove through the night in a rental car it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to turn on. Eventually, my high beams tunneled through the darkness, their outer radius revealing dense forest, small, sleeping towns and the thick...

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The Wealth Distribution Blues #19

(For John Prine) Like the poordon’t have it bad enough,this virus seems tobe singling them out.And they’re re-openingPotter’s Field,and the Blacks and Hispanicsdon’t stand a chance. If you’re froma shit hole countrythen you’re doubly screwed.‘Cos for oncewe have the...

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Quo Vadis? COVID Est (Eh!)

Outsidein the loosening freeze,the last stubborn snows meltand the soil oozeslike wet sponge underfoot,as spring’s first smells emerge,on the breeze,whispers of rotten leafand sodden grassand months’ old dog turdsbeing givena proud second run. It’s quiet herelike the...

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The Downtown Skateboarder Ascends

for Natas Kaupas I am old now, and my bones crack like burning woodwhen I sit or stand.But shit, I can recalla time when I was youngand God was a blondeCalifornian and half the age of what I am now.How me and my friendsstudied those...

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Birthday Haikus:

The Runners Rebuke of the Waterfowl Goose!  Your disdain forme is noted. On my birth-day no less.  Fuck you. The Unwanted Epiphany It occurs to methat I am now older thanElvis was.  Oh shit.

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The Approbates

Two gay ducksswim sentinelin the slipat harbourfrontwhere I am hammering oakum into the seamsof an old schooner. Between vigorous bouts of lovemakingthey often regardmy work and enthusiasticallyquack their consent.

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Death Of The Great Lafayette

Jewelled fingers betrayed the identityof the greatest showman of his time.Whose body, charred beyond all recognition,was found in the ruins of an Edinburgh theatre.Fingers which had earned a fortunecoaxing tropical birds from gaudy robes,making whole elephants...

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Dead Grandfathers

Ring around the burial mound,push in the soil and tramp it down,doff your caps let bugles sound,for all of our dead grandfathers. Some have one, some have moresome were killed in a war.Can the earth take anymore?It’s full of our dead grandfathers. In life we move from...

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An Ice Sculptor Assesses His Life Thus Far

I am not a legend in my time.Nor will I be known as suchwhen I am gone. Scholars and critics will neverfinger their chinsas they regard my work and whisper ‘genius’softly to themselves.But I, like many before me have been moved bythe beauty in the world,and in my own...

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